COURAGE IN BEING GINA
Bringing the larger-than-life character of mining heiress Gina Rinehart to life in the telemovie House of Hancock left Mandy McElhinney with a great sense of respect for those who live their life in the public eye
To master Rinehart’s distinctive mannerisms and voice, McElhinney used footage of a young Gina talking about her father and the Pilbara.
“I kept that in my head, that little girl. She has a very particular accent and way of talking that was a challenge. There’s something very controlled about the way she speaks. It’s a great contradiction of a person who is incredibly powerful but also has an incredibly light and delicate bearing and way of speaking.”
House of Hancock, originally titled Gina, was produced for the Nine Network by Michael Cordell, Claudia Karvan and Paul Bennett.
Karvan championed the project from day one.
“She’s been with the project for so long because she’s really fascinated with the character of Gina,” McElhinney says.
And what Rinehart will think of the series McElhinney has no idea.
“I have a great sense of respect for people who’ve had their lives played out (in public) … it is completely up to her how she reacts to it.
“After playing Nene King (in Paper Giants), and talking to her, I know what an extremely strange and confronting thing it is to see a version of your life played out, with people walking around pretending to be you.”
Growing up in WA, McElhinney has always been aware of the Hancock story.
“I remember the Rose Hancock period. I remember it as being like an episode of Dallas.”
Having played such a complicated character, McElhinney says she has a better perspective of Rinehart.
“I think there’s much more of a human being now than I used to see when I looked at her before.”
Mandy McElhinney required more than a physical transformation to play Gina Rinehart.